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Sentencing delayed for threats to Premier

Raised the alarm: David Burt, the Premier (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A homeless man sent a series of death threats against David Burt and his family in a “campaign of abuse and harassment”, the Supreme Court heard yesterday.

The Premier, who has two young children, was “alarmed and disturbed” by the messages, which raised security concerns while he was on an official trip to Britain two years ago.

Jared Gordon, 29, admitted sending e-mails to Mr Burt in 2017 and 2018 in which he threatened to “put a bullet” in the Premier’s head and cut off his head with a hacksaw.

Gordon appeared in court to be sentenced yesterday, and Karen King Deane, for the Crown, argued he should be imprisoned for up to four years.

However, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons adjourned the matter so a detailed neuropsychological assessment can be carried out.

Ms Deane told the court that on October 4, 2017, Mr Burt received a video on Twitter from Gordon which included threats against his life.

Nine days later, Mr Burt received an e-mail from an address identified as Gordon’s.

Gordon wrote: “You do realise that ignoring the facts and not admitting to something and ignoring me asking for a budget is driving me to a point of me wanting to tell you this, to your face ... I would really put a hole in your head.”

It was followed by a series of gun emojis. The Premier reported the matter to the police.

On November 25, 2017, Mr Burt was in Britain on an official trip when he received another e-mail from Gordon.

In the e-mail, Gordon, who was known to be in Britain at the time, said he knew Mr Burt was in London.

Ms Deane said: “These messages, coupled with the e-mail received on October 13, caused a great concern for the Premier’s safety and a risk assessment determined that security measures above and beyond what would normally be in place would have to be employed.”

Mr Burt received another two e-mails from Gordon on March 28 last year after he had returned to Bermuda. In one message, Gordon said: “You can’t fool the people when you’re in the wide open, you better duck everywhere you walk or ride or go, you clearly don’t think about your wife or kid’s safety.

“You’re a liar a thief and a snake. Grow up Burt. Come Britain aka England and come see me to my face by yourself.”

In the second e-mail, Gordon said: “I’m going to end up coming back like a thief in the night, pulling you out of your house and chopping your head off with a hacksaw.”

Gordon added: “Stop selling out a British territory to America. You’re a f***ing doofus. All your sins are in the wide open.”

Ms Deane said: “Mr Burt was alarmed and disturbed by the content as the threats had now been extended to his family. Out of concern for the safety of his family a further report was made to police and the messages were forwarded.”

Gordon was arrested on May 5 last year when he arrived on a flight to the island, and while he was offered bail by the courts, he has remained in custody for the past 13 months. He admitted to police that he sent the messages, but said he only wanted Mr Burt’s attention and had no intention to carry out the threats.

Ms Deane called for Gordon to be jailed for between two and four years. “Even though they were admitted by the defendant, it appears that he doesn’t quite appreciate the severity of his actions,” she said. “His excuse was he was frustrated and he wanted to get someone’s attention.”

Simone Smith-Bean, for Gordon, said it was important that her client received the treatment that he needed.

She told the court Gordon was unhappy with the way Mr Burt had been leading the country and cognitive issues limited his ability to understand the effect his words might have.

“My client was living in a homeless shelter in the UK, far away from the Premier, when those e-mails were transcribed,” Ms Smith-Bean told the court.

“Gordon is really in some need of assistance with these cognitive disorders. I think he would benefit by going through the programmes out there.

“He has now only just become aware of these things, and, as such, he has not been able to receive any treatment.”

Ms Smith-Bean suggested a shorter period of imprisonment, followed by a period of probation which would include treatment programmes. Mrs Justice Simmons adjourned the matter until August arraignments, when a new sentencing date will be set.

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